Copenhagen a failure? Think again.

Attributed to NEIL BROWN, December 26, 2009

UNLIKE most people, who think Copenhagen was a failure, I think it was a great success. It has preserved the golden rule of international diplomacy.

Years ago, when I was a young fellow and started to go to international conferences, an old hand who was about to retire took me aside. ”I’ll be shoving off into retirement soon,” he said, ”so I thought I might pass on the golden rule of international conferences.”

I was fascinated. I was sure he would say I should always pursue noble objectives, lift up the downtrodden masses of Africa and Asia, stamp out disease and poverty and generally bring peace to the world. Alas, no.

”The most important item on the agenda at any international conference,” he resumed, ”is to fix the date of the next meeting – and of course the location.”

However – and it was a big however – if a conference succeeded in wiping out poverty or pestilence, there would be no prospect of trying to go to another conference the following year on the same subject. Concentrating on the date of the next conference would guarantee poverty and pestilence would still be there the next year and would provide the excuse for another year’s travel, entertainment, spending other people’s money, passing pious resolutions and generally being self-important, all of which are the only reasons for being in politics or diplomacy.

I soon learnt that seasoned players on the international scene knew very well the vital importance of the golden rule. For example, Sir Owen Dixon told me that when he was appointed the first UN troubleshooter on Kashmir, he went to New York to recruit an assistant. Someone recommended a young man in the UN building who, believe it or not, actually had the job description ”to bring peace to the world”.

”Do you like your job?” Sir Owen asked. ”Well, at least it’s permanent,” he replied. This young man, who had a stellar career at the UN thereafter, was right, because the intractable problem of Kashmir has, by definition, still not been solved and in the intervening years has provided immense fodder for studies, working groups, theses, working breakfasts, dinners, lunches and, of course, international conferences.

Statesmen and politicians did not achieve all of this by solving the problem of Kashmir; they did it by failing and by making sure that next year the crisis would be the gift that keeps on giving.

There was also a secret protocol to the golden rule, shielded from the prying eyes of the public as far as possible – to make sure that the location of the conference was somewhere nice, for example, fleshpots such as Casablanca, holiday spots such as Bali or ski resorts such as Davos.

The proof of the pudding is, of course, in the eating. Thus, despite the fact that almost everyone says that Copenhagen was a success because it narrowly avoided being a failure, the cognoscenti know it was a great success because it was such an appalling failure.

First, climate change is as bad as it ever was. None of the weasel words of progress and achievement about keeping temperatures down can conceal the good news that the whole thing was a disaster.

If the alarmists are right, climate change can only get worse. If they are wrong, the issue still is likely to have such life in it that it could last as long as Kashmir before the truth dawns.

Second, since Kyoto and again since Bali, we were told incessantly that Copenhagen was the last chance to prevent the world being plunged into a watery grave. Everyone was going to Copenhagen in the belief that it was a last chance to save the planet.

When I heard this, I mourned for the international political and diplomatic brotherhood of which I was once a part; they clearly were not going to be able to stretch climate change beyond Copenhagen as the excuse for more conferences, new taxes, tougher and more complicated laws and the perpetual extortion of money from poor workers in rich countries to rich kleptomaniacs in poor countries that foreign aid has become. Some other issue would have to be found.

Fortunately, this has turned out not to be the case. Mercifully, climate change will be there for at least another year to take its vengeance on a profligate and decadent world. It will provide the excuse for conferences next year and for years beyond. So also is the secret protocol intact: conferences on climate change will never be held anywhere near Darfur or Bangladesh.

Neil Brown is a barrister and former member of Federal Parliament, h/t to Geoff Sherrington.

IAC Report – finally a ray of light!

In the IAC Report released today, Working Group II comes in for particular criticism. Working Group II assesses the vulnerability of socioeconomic and natural systems to climate change, negative and positive consequences of climate change, and options for adapting to it. The vindicates what I have been saying, that the worst of climate alarmism comes from the climate effects people.

For fabricating evidence:

The Working Group II Summary for Policy Makers has been criticized for various errors and for emphasizing the negative impacts of climate change. These problems derive partly from a failure to adhere to IPCC’s uncertainty guidance for the fourth assessment and partly from shortcomings in the guidance itself. Authors were urged to consider the amount of evidence and level of agreement about all conclusions and to apply subjective probabilities of confidence to conclusions when there was high agreement and much evidence. However, authors reported high confidence in some statements for which there is little evidence. Furthermore, by making vague statements that were difficult to refute, authors were able to attach “high confidence” to the statements. The Working Group II Summary for Policy Makers contains many such statements that are not supported sufficiently in the literature, not put into perspective, or not expressed clearly. When statements are well defined and supported by evidence—by indicating when and under what climate conditions they would occur—the likelihood scale should be used.

For using unpublished and non-peer-reviewed sources:

An analysis of the 14,000 references cited in the Third Assessment Report found that peer-reviewed journal articles comprised 84 percent of references in Working Group I, but only 59 percent of references in Working Group II and 36 percent of references in Working Group III (Bjurström and Polk, 2010).


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How Bad are the Models – UHI

Urban areas differ from rural areas in a number of well known ways, but the IPCC summaries maintain that these effects have been effectively removed when they talk about the recent (post 1960) increases in global surface temperature.

Continuing the series on how bad climate models really are, another paper is in the pipeline on the long-standing influence of urban heat effects (UHI) in the surface temperature data. Ross McKitrick reports that between 1/2 and 1/3 of the recent increase in temperature is due to this contamination (Ross’s website here).

The methodology uses the regression coefficients from the socioeconomic variables to estimate the trend distribution after removing the estimated non-climatic biases in the temperature data. On observational data this reduces the mean warming trend by between one-third and one-half, but it does not affect the mean surface trend in the model-generated data. Again this is
consistent with the view that the observations contain a spatial contamination pattern not present in, or predicted by, the climate models.

Note that this rather gross bias is not present in or predicted by the climate models, meaning the climate models do not have the physical mechanisms to model it. One consequence is that if the models are to fit the recent increase in temperature, some other (incorrect) mechanism must be used (such as H2O feedback perhaps – I don’t know).

Ross has written up the backstory of the all too common obstacles to publication of articles questioning the IPCC here:

In the aftermath of Climategate a lot of scientists working on global warming-related topics are upset that their field has apparently lost credibility with the public. The public seems to believe that climatology is beset with cliquish gatekeeping, wagon-circling, biased peer-review, faulty data and statistical incompetence. In response to these perceptions, some scientists are casting around, in op-eds and weblogs, for ideas on how to hit back at their critics. I would like to suggest that the climate science community consider instead whether the public might actually have a point.

How Bad are Climate Models? Temperature

Due to building the website for The Climate Sceptics I haven’t been able to post despite some important events. My site and other files were deleted in some kind of attack, so I have had to rebuild it as well. I now have the WordPress 3.0 multiuser system which enable easy creation and management of multiple blogs, so its an ill wind eh?

The important event I refer to is the release of “Panel and Multivariate Methods for Tests of Trend Equivalence in Climate Data Series” by Ross McKitrick, Stephen McIntyre and Chad Herman (2010). Nobody is talking about it, and I don’t know why, as it has a history almost as long as the hockey stick on McIntyre’s blog (summary here), and is a powerful condemnation of climate models in the PRL.

I feel a series coming on, as these results deliver a stunning blow to the last leg that alarmists have been standing on, i.e. model credulity. Also because I have a paper coming out in a similar vein, dealing with drought models in regional Australia.

Using a rigorous methodology on 57 runs from 23 model simulations of the lower troposphere (LT) and mid-troposphere (MT) with forcing inputs from the realistic A1B emission scenario, and four observational temperature series: two satellite-borne microwave sounding unit (MSU)-derived series and two balloon-borne radiosonde series, over two time periods from 1979-99 and 1999-2009, they tested a mismatch between models and observed trends in the tropical troposphere. This represents a basic validation test of climate models over a 30 year period, a validation test which SHOULD be fundamental to any belief in the models, and their usefulness for projections of global warming in the future.

The results are shown in their figure:

… the differences between models and observations now exceed the 99% critical value. As shown in Table 1 and Section 3.3, the model trends are about twice as large as observations in the LT layer, and about four times as large in the MT layer.

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